Policy in response to geohazards: lessons from the developed world?
The developed world has long experience of responding to hazards within a policy and legislative framework, and these are examined to see whether this experience can be applied to the developing world. It is important, however, that it should be applied within the cultural, legal and political framework of the countries at risk.
The typical response to a geohazard is reaction after an event, and the opportunity should not be lost at this stage to introduce measures to reduce vulnerability to future events. For some hazards, such as mining subsidence, the hazard can be identified before it causes damage, and the response is to limit activities which might trigger the hazard. The effects of a hazard may be mitigated by engineering controls or by planning responses, such as foundation design regulations in earthquake-prone areas, and diverting development from high-risk areas.
The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction is expected to produce significant strides in the application of lessons already learned on a much wider scale. These must be applied as wisely as possible, particularly in the light of the growing world population and its increasing concentration in areas which are prone to geohazards.
KeywordsHazardous Zone Disaster Relief Disaster Preparedness Mine Subsidence United Nations General
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